Philadelphia Eagles: Jason Peters’ legacy in midnight green is unflappable

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

For the first time in over a decade, Jason Peters will not be on the sideline for the Philadelphia Eagles this fall.

Now granted, this was to be expected. Between his poor performances last summer and the presence of both Jordan Mailata and Andre Dillard, there just wasn’t a spot for Peters back on the Eagles this fall.

Would it have been nice to see Peters hang up his cleats right then and there and transition to an off-field role within the organization a la Harold Carmichael or Ron Jaworski? Most definitely, that would have been a storybook ending to a Hall of Fame career, but in the real world, things seldom work out that way.

No, at the ripe old age of 39, the Philadelphia Eagles all-timer just signed a contract with the Chicago Bears to continue his NFL career into its 18th year.

And you know what? Good for him. While it’ll be weird to see number 71 in a different color uniform, his legacy in midnight green is all but unflappable.

Jason Peters’ legacy with the Philadelphia Eagles is already set.

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For a solid five-year stretch last decade, there wasn’t a better offensive tackle in the business than Jason Peters.

A supersized blocking tight end at the University of Arkansas, Peters signed with the Buffalo Bills as a UDFA in 2004 with the intentions of transitioning to tackle full time, even though the team already had a pair of solid bookends in place by the names of Mike Williams and Jonas Jennings.

*spoiler alert* it worked.

Though Peters didn’t fully enter the starting conversation until his second season in the “Queen City,” he quickly found a home starting for Mike Mularkey/Dick Jauron’s team and was rewarded for his perseverance with a five-year, $15 million extension to remain with the Bills long-term.

… and by long-term, I mean until 2009, when after being underwhelmed by his contract versus his All-Pro level of on-the-field play, Peters demanded a trade and was shipped to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a 2009 first-round pick, a 2009 fourth-round pick, and an additional sixth-round pick in 2010.

Armed with a new five-year, $60 million contract and a head coach desperately looking for a viable replacement for Tra Thomas – who signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars after 11 seasons in midnight green – Peters immediately slotted in as Donovan McNabb‘s blindspot protector, where he played for the remainder of number 5’s career.

From 2009-16, Peters made the Pro Bowl every single season save a 2012 campaign robbed by a torn Achilles. He earned two All-Pro honors, played 16 games in four seasons, and started every single game he appeared in for the Eagles, all the way up to his weird 2020 season split between right guard and left tackle.

Peters played for three different head coaches – for if you count Pat Shurmur’ one-game interim tenure – protected quarterbacks ranging from ultra-athletic runners like Michael Vick to certified statues like Sam Bradford, and yet, through it all, Peters remained a stalwart pass blocker and a nasty run blocker who had little issue with imposing his will on would-be tacklers and moving bodies at his will like a human tornado.

Even in 2020, easily the worst season of his tenure with the Eagles, Peters didn’t commit a single penalty and was able to do his job better than any other midseason backup you’ll find right off the street.

Really, the only thing Peters didn’t accomplish during his run with the Eagles was playing in a Super Bowl game, as his 2017 season ended with a trip to IR in Week 8, but in the grand scheme of things, I would imagine having the ring is just as sweet even if he spent the big game on the sidelines.

Do you know who else likely doesn’t care how his Super Bowl ring was earned? The Hall of Fame. With “Super Bowl champion” now added to an incredible list of accolades, Peters is one of the most decorated offensive linemen of the last decade and a half and should earn a bust in Canton regardless of how his tenure with the Chicago Bears turns out.

Next. Jake Elliott might just turn the corner yet. dark

During the team’s first preseason game, owner Jeffery Lurie announced the members of the Philadelphia Eagles’ 2021 draft class: Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan. While the exact way those two all-time linemen ended up in Philadelphia differed, as Thomas was a first-round pick and Runyan was a free agent addition, both turned in incredible careers in midnight green uniforms before playing the final year of their respective careers elsewhere. That didn’t affect either player’s legacy in South Philly, so why, dare I ask, would Jason Peters following suit be any different? Answer: It shouldn’t.